241 S. 4th St., Williamsburg
The name of this restaurant is actually pronounced "shiksa," a nod to (Jewish) chef Jason Marcus's (non-Jewish) wife Heather Heuser, with whom he owns the restaurant. Located under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in a cozy, dimly-lit space scattered with several bar-height tables, the casual vibe is a bit deceiving, as this is a serious foodie destination. While the menu is somewhat Mexican-inspired, Marcus takes a lot of liberties, with dishes like grilled carrots "elote," a corn flan "tamale" with blue crab and poblano-garlic cream, and grilled quail with cantaloupe, pomegranate-walnut salsa, herbed yogurt, and arbol chile. It's the kid of place that's worthy of a trek from Manhattan.
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66 S. 2nd St., Williamsburg
We're not prone to sweeping declarations, but it's pretty unanimous that this is the best sushi spot in Williamsburg. The sleek interior has a sophisticated air to it that's perfect for a date night when you want to break out the heels.
567 Union Ave., Williamsburg
It’s still pretty hard to nail down a reservation at Chef Missy Robbins’ first solo venture, an Italian restaurant set up in what used to be an auto garage. Pasta is the move here, but people also love the grilled seafood—the menu is separated into big fish and little fish, but the truth is, they’re all standard mains size-wise. Should you find yourself in this part of Williamsburg during the day, go to the takeaway Lilia Caffé attached to the main dining room for strong espresso and house-made pastries in the morning, and delicious soft serve gelato and focaccia midday, both good for a quick refuel. Photos: Evan Sung
348 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
As the latest restaurant from designer Taavo Somer (Freemans, etc.), Isa is, unsurprisingly, very cool. The food is simple yet innovative, focusing on the flavors of the quality ingredients with frequent hints of smoke from the wood-burning oven.
85 Broadway, Williamsburg
Operating out of a renovated 1920s train car, this quirky little spot from Andrew Tarlow has served Williamsburg since the late 90s. In the past 20 years, it’s lost none of its appeal, thanks to a seasonal and daily menu of American classics, from one of the best burgers in Brooklyn, to a solid roast chicken on any night of the week. The atmosphere gets downright rowdy the later it gets with scores of hipsters rolling up for late-night eating to a soundtrack of old-school hip-hop. The restaurant sticks to a strict no-reservations policy, so expect to wait for a seat. Luckily, you can get a strong drink at the bar to tide you over or head next door to Marlow & Sons for a glass of wine.
162 N. 4th St., Williamsburg
We’re big fans of this sustainability-first spot, which is growing like crazy. The focus is on local farmers, proper sourcing, and environmental respect, which is also reflected in the hands-down delicious food. Besides the build-your-own salad bar, the bowl-centric dishes range from Mexican-inspired salads to basic cobbs—and in the true spirit of transparency, they reveal calorie content, too. Come lunchtime, the lines extend around the block.
355 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg
This is the best new-wave steakhouse in the neighborhood, as evidenced by the fact that it's usually at capacity by 6pm. It's worth the sometimes two hour wait (we leave our number and head next door for a drink) for an insane aged steak for two or four, not to mention a perfectly-dressed bibb lettuce salad, lush truffle oil mashed potatoes, and delicious, seasonal options from the grill.
Pies ‘n Thighs
166 S. 4th St., Williamsburg
Great fried chicken, end of story. Owned and run by three women who met while working at Diner, this is a super casual spot that offers an authentic spin on Southern food. The wonderful savouries are matched only by their sweet, down-home American pies. There's a new location on the Lower East Side.
178 Broadway, Williamsburg
For many years—well before Williamsburg was hip—New Yorkers flocked to this 100-year-old steakhouse for its famously perfect cuts of meat, which, along with the excellent service, have earned it a Michelin star. The space is old-school, with dark wood paneled walls and bentwood chairs. Many come just for the atmosphere and the “Luger-Burger,” which is one of the best in the city—it also happens to be a steal at lunch. Famously, they don't take credit cards (though they do accept debit).
150 Ainslie St., Williamsburg
We love this pretty little spot for Japanese home-style breakfasts and lunches. It’s worth waiting for a seat, as the chef sets the menu daily, and then serves the beautiful offerings on traditional ceramic dishes. On Mondays and Tuesdays the team behind the legendary Yuji Ramen (two ex-Roberta’s alumni) set up shop as a special treat. The fresh seafood—all of it sourced locally, never imported from Japan—is a major part of the pre-set Sansai meal, which can include anything from egg omelets to uni noodles and always miso soups and rice.
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